Thoughts flooded my mind a first-light this Easter morning. A quick check of my phone highlighted the date: Sunday, April 12. This triggered memories of April 12, 22 years ago. Visiting my mom in the hospital after church and saying a tearful goodbye a few hours later as a family.
As I reflected, I looked up at the photo of Josh, still hanging by my bed. (I mean what are you supposed to do with an oversized photo of your late husband? I know it won't hang by my bed forever, but today it does.) Seeing it makes me wish all the more that he was not a photo representing a moment in time we shared, but that instead he was the face I could wake up to on this very day. I wish we would tackle Easter 2020 together.
Turning to God's Word for clarity (or something), I read John's account of visiting the empty tomb early Easter morning. I read how Peter and John didn't understand what was happening that morning. Where had Jesus' body gone? They didn't understand the story at that point (much like I don't always understand my story at times now).
It wasn't until much later in the evening that they understood and saw the real truth of the situation – that in fact, Jesus had risen from the dead, changing the course of history.
Today, there will be no sudden reappearance on earth of people I love, who have passed away. Those stories are still the same. Even still, I find hope and peace in knowing that I will see them again. There is a bit of wonder that also swells in me as I think about what heaven might look like on Easter Sunday -- what a gathering and celebration it must be.
There is joy in the morning. There is joy that comes from sorrow. There is joy because of Jesus.
Before my mom passed away, I wrote a song for her that still resonates today. Below are the words and maybe I'll actually record it to share another way, but for today, I'll share it as another piece of my story even though it feels a bit more vulnerable as songwriting captures a different piece of my heart:
Continuing on, as I celebrate Easter 2020 and reflect on SO much, I lift my eyes to Jesus who not only comforts but is the source of hope. A hope that brings joy today within my current, active earthly circumstance and hope that goes beyond explanation.
The Gospel of John ends with what feels like a cliffhanger . . . there's always more to the story.
"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for books that would be written." - John 21:25
This, in many ways fills me with more wonder and excitement. God is continuing to write stories of hope here today in 2020.
So, Happy Easter friends - may today be filled with moments of wonder and great joy.
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.